Studies into the electronic learning space have highlighted the need for teacher training in both the technical aspects of the particular technology and the pedagogical practices for integrating such technologies into their lessons. As with any new resource, teachers need to reason their choice for employing such technology, evaluate their use of it and make decisions based on quality of practice. The electronic space certainly offers huge potential if understood and used to enhance learning. Collaboration between the creators of electronic learning programmes and educationalists should see a more sophisticated and curriculum aligned software development hopefully improving what is currently available.
One area of study we have had to look at previously is WEB 2.0 technology and how it is different from the initial version of the WEB. I place my comments here because they seem relevant to the topic this week:
I see Web 2.0 technology as interactive web pages created and used to promote inclusive sharing of ideas and resources. It can be considered a learning space because it goes beyond providing a mere page of information to be read. I imagine it to entering a room (designed by the creator) with posters on the walls, books/articles, games, videos etc. for your perusal. It has the added tool of providing you with the opportunity to leave messages, communicate your opinion, share with everyone else, that has been in that space. It connects people.
My understanding of a Community of Practice (CoP) is that it is a collaborative learning process that involves the collective wisdom of a group (the community) so that when the individual’s share and communicate their ideas, regularly, (the practice) this enhances the learning for all participants. The key to a CoP is the socialization and interaction that facilitates learning between each member. Its capacity to transform the learning of an individual, compared to what they could have learnt by themselves, is an intriguing study. Want to know more? Get an overview from, Etienne Wenger, one of the theorists who helped first coin the phrase: http://www.ewenger.com/theory/
In the staffroom of my current school is a phrase on the wall which I think is applicable here “Each one of us has a piece of WISDOM. No one has all the WISDOM”. I am so grateful that the staff at this school actually believes this to be true and regularly practise this in their collaboration and interaction with each other. We take on a shared responsibility for every individual student and regularly discuss the best possible practice to meet the needs of our school.
My definition of a PLN is an online learning environment set up by educators for those interested/involved in education. It’s a place to share information, ideas and opinions; sort of like an online book club for teachers and facilitators in education. After viewing many and varied PLN’s, I have come to the conclusion that it can be whatever the creator wants it to be. There is so much media available to the PLN creator that the possibilities are endless. Each week I will try to include a handy hint (something that helped me in my learning and hopefully will help you too).
So, Handy Hint #1: a blog I found by chance when starting on my own PLN: